First off - Congrats to Alissa Kostyk for winning the surprise contest! As always, there were so many great stories to choose from (including two other people who mentioned the same Bills comeback against the Oilers!), but in the end, I could only pick one. Thanks so much to everyone who entered. There will be another contest very soon!
Let's redefine a word.
The definition of adversity is "a state of hardship or affliction; misfortune."
Not surprisingly, people like to use the word in an uplifting context. As in "triumph over adversity."
That's all well and good, but I'd like to change the definition:
Adversity - noun. "disguised opportunity, valuable lesson, lasting inspiration."
See, I don't think adversity is something you have to triumph over. I think you triumph on account of adversity.
I had a lot of adversity growing up. Single mom, troubled brothers, living hand-to-mouth.
Obviously it was a state of hardship. Of misfortune.
On the other hand, it made me who I am today. Those conditions are ever-present in my mind, and they have fueled me and inspired me to be the best father to my kids that I can be; they inspired me to learn to cook for myself at a young age; they taught me the value of money early on, etc. etc.
I'm not saying all children should grow up under adversity; I'm just saying there's another way to look at it.
You have to look at the "unlucky" parts of your life and make the decision to thrive off of them instead of feeling bad for yourself.
Make no mistake; it's a choice.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - if you choose to let it.
There are things in your life that seem like misfortune. But if you can extract the lessons from them; if you can use them to re-appreciate the good fortune you have; if you can use them as a blueprint for getting it right the next time...then you have turned it from being misfortune to disguised opportunity.
It's "losing" that gives you the blueprint for winning.
(No one walks around the locker room after a win and says "How can we get better??")
I've said many times that growth comes from discomfort.
Well, triumph comes from adversity.
As long as you choose to look at it that way.
PS - Here's the last question and answer with sales maestro and author Jeffrey Gitomer, who came out with a new book this week.
Me: What’s the biggest mistake sales people make today?
Jeffrey: I have interacted with hundreds of thousands of salespeople – that’s how the 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling came about. During my continuing journey, I have seen three flaws that are common to all weak salespeople. Not necessarily “mistakes,” like asking the wrong questions, rather blunders and errors in judgment and thinking that causes failure. They are:
1. Lack of belief in what they sell, who they represent, and in themselves. Lack of belief shows up in your presentation, and is evident to the prospect. ADVICE: Visit customers who LOVE your product and have been loyal to you for years. Talk to them about WHY they believe – it will strengthen yours.
2. Lack of love of what you do. If you have “hate” or “no passion” for or about what you do, you’ll never give it full effort, and you’ll always be looking for greener pastures. “They don’t pay ne enough” will ALWAYS be your mantra. And your attitude will suffer more that your sales (if that’s possible). ADVICE: Find a job you love, before you’re fired from the one you don’t.
3. Blaming everything and everyone for what goes wrong or what didn’t happen, rather that taking responsibility for what happened, and adding personal responsibility for making things happen. Seems so obvious, yet it’s one of the biggest missing elements of sales (and society). ADVICE: Responsibility starts in the bathroom mirror in the morning. Look, smile, and commit. Next, check your language. Negative talk is usually blame talk. Avoid it. Get a partner to stop you when you start. This is one of the biggest challenges in sales and life. The media is blame-ridden, and the more you expose yourself to it, the more you are likely to play the game yourself. Turn off the news. Turn on your life.